Emerald Pools Trail Walkthrough
Now weve covered everything you need to know about the trail, lets get into the hike itself. Emerald Pools Trail is a great hike in what is one of the very best places to visit in Utah.
We will be explaining the hike as though you will take on the full loop, which means taking a left turn after the bridge and going on to stop at each pool.
Emerald Pools Trail Hiking Routes Explained
Heres the confusing part of hiking Emerald Pools Trail in Zion:
There are several ways in which you can hike to each pool and the trail markers dont make things crystal clear with directions and distances.
Heres what you need to know:
- The start of the hike crosses a bridge over the Virgin River and you reach a fork.
- Each pool can be reached by turning left or right.
- You can hike in a loop or out-and-back both ways.
The first sign states Upper and Lower to the right and Middle to the left. Ignore that, you can go either way to any pool.
Heres the simplified version Turn left after the bridge if you want to make a slightly longer loop hike that takes in the entire Emerald Pools Trail.
But if youre short on time, turn right after the bridge and make Emerald Pools a shorter out-and-back trail. You will still see all three pools.
Important In this Zion Emerald Pools Trail hiking guide we are going to walk you through turning left after the bridge to complete the full loop.
What To Bring On The Emerald Pools Trail
Compared to some of the other hikes in Zion National Park, The Emerald Pools Trail is fairly straightforward. With the first section of the trail leading to the Lower Pool, little preparation is needed. Even so, there are still a few things you can bring along to make your trip more comfortable.
At Zion Lodge, youll find everything you need to start your journey. With restrooms, drinking water, a store, and even a restaurant, its easy to pick up some snacks before you hit the trail.
While out on the Emerald Pools Trail, it wouldnt hurt to bring along some food and water for an impromptu picnic. If nothing else, its very important that you bring at least 2 liters of water per person.
During the summer months, the weather can be hot and unpredictable. Bring sunblock and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Also, pack a light raincoat just in case one of those pesky Utah thunderstorms decides to roll in.
Do you have the right hiking gear? No worries we have put together 40 Hiking Essentials items that every hiker should have when hiking any of the trails in Zion National Park.
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Can You Swim In The Emerald Pools In Zion
No, you cannot swim in the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park. All three pools are off limits for swimming.
Thats probably not the answer you wanted to hear, especially if youre planning to visit in Summer. But when you see the pools you will understand why.
Save your cooling-down dip for The Narrows!
Waterfall In Zion National Park
The two waterfalls you see at the Lower Emerald Pools is spill-off from the Middle Pools, which is just above the alcove. While I did my best to try to find the name of these waterfalls in Zion National Park, the best I could find was Lower Emerald Pools.
If youre like me and amazed by the beautiful surrounds and want to continue, I highly recommend walking underneath the waterfalls and continuing on to the Middle, or Upper Pools trails.
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A Quel Moment De La Journe Faire La Randonne D’emerald Pools
Si on veut éviter la foule, le mieux sera toujours le matin car il y aura moins de monde et de bon matin les personnes préfèreront peut être s’élancer vers des randonnées plus ardues…Cela étant, s’il fait chaud, notamment en plein été, cette balade assez rafraichissante peut se faire dans l’après-midi, afin de fuir la chaleur, mais attention, il est interdit de se baigner !!!Cela peut être tentant, mais c’est formellement interdit, attention, les rangers veillent !!!!
Emerald Pools Trail Routes
There is no wrong way to visit the Emerald Pools in Zion. My personal favorite is during the spring when the weather is cooler and the spring runoff makes the waterfall more dramatic.
The trail is open year-round but would say it is most pleasant during the spring and fall. The summer can get quite hot and I would recommend hitting the trail early to beat the afternoon heat.
Lower Emerald Pools Round Trip
Distance: 1.2 Miles
Time: 1 Hour
Shuttle Bus Stop: Bus Stop #5, Zion Lodge
The Lower Emerald Pools Trail is an easy hike the perfect trail for almost everyone! It’s relatively flat, has great views of the Virgin River, and the Zion Canyon and a spectacular view of the waterfall at the end. You can even follow the trail behind the waterfall then through some rock cliffs towards the middle pool.
Middle Emerald Pools Round Trip
Distance: 1.6 Miles
Time: 1.5 Hours
Shuttle Bus Stop: Bus Stop #5, Zion Lodge
The Middle Pool is a short hike above the lower falls to see the pool before going over the edge.
Remember there is no swimming allowed in the Emerald Pools and it includes all parts. The National Park Service has even placed posts and chain across to keep people out but it does distract from taking photos.
The views here are still beautiful as you can get a beautiful reflection off the water.
Upper Emerald Pools Round Trip
Distance: 2.0 Miles
Time: 2 Hours
Shuttle Bus Stop: Bus Stop #5, Zion Lodge
Distance: 2.9 Miles
Time: 3.25 Hours
Shuttle Bus Stop: Bus Stop #5, Zion Lodge
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Lower Emerald Pools Trail: Zion National Park Hiking Guide
After arriving at the parking lot, make your way over the Virgin River Bridge immediately to the west. Here, youll find information boards outlining the basics of the Lower, Middle, and Upper Emerald Pools trails in Zion.
If youre looking for a quick hike to the lower pools to see the waterfall, turn right at the fork immediately after the bridge.
From here, youre in for an easy, yet incredibly scenic hike through the Behunin Canyon to the Lower Emerald Pools. This trail seems to have breathtaking vistas and photogenic vantage points at every turn. Youll get excellent views of Lady Mountain, Mount Zion, Mount Majestic, and the Great White Throne.
While you might take longer due to all the photo stops, you certainly wont get lost.
This trail is very easy to follow and is well-graded and signed. Being one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park , youd expect nothing less. However, be aware that there are several steep drop-offs and sections where falling is a possibility. With that said, the lower pools trail is quite wide with very little incline, making it an easy hike for most.
In fact, this hiking trail is accessible to those in a wheelchair, assuming they have assistance.
Great Hike With Stunning Views
The emerald pools are three different pools at different heights on one side up the slopes from the scenic road and river at the valley floor in Zion National Park. Convenient for those staying at the Zion National Park Lodge in the par, they are basically just across the river along a set of trails. One has options on whether to see one or all with lovely trail among the rocks and trees, with those higher up giving some excellent views both across and down the incredibly scenic valley. We spent some time exploring all the pools along the trails when there, in the afternoon after having already been to the Temple of Sinawava and walking along the Riverside Walk up to the Narrows.The higher up one gets, to the upper pool, the fewer people there are.
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Prsentation De Emerald Pools
Les Emerald pools ou “piscines d’émeraude“, sont trois piscines naturelles. On trouve la Lower, la Middle et la Upper Emerald Pools. Selon la saison, il est également possible de voir de nombreuses cascades le long du parcours.Vous pouvez selon vos envies, ne faire qu’une piscine, deux ou les trois, des sentiers permettant de les relier les unes aux autres. Se trouvant aux pieds d’immenses falaises de grès et dans une sorte de cirque, le paysage est magnifique et assez impressionnant.La randonnée est assez facile, elle fait un peu plus de 4 km et il faut compter environ 2 heures pour découvrir l’ensemble du site.
Erste Besiedlung Durch Weie
Um 1850 drangen erste mormonische Farmer und Baumwollpflanzer aus Salt Lake City in die Region rund um den Virgin River ein und begannen sich dort niederzulassen. 1851 wurde die Stadt Cedar City gegründet, die Gegend des heutigen Kolob Canyons diente dabei als natürliche Ressource für Holz, aber auch als Weidegrund für Kühe, Schafe und Pferde. Zum Schürfen von Mineralien wurden einige Flüsse umgelenkt, aber die Ergiebigkeit der Minen war nur sehr gering. Mormonen gaben der Gegend den Namen Kolob für die Mormonen der Stern, der dem Aufenthaltsort Gottes am nächsten liegt.
1869 erforschte John Wesley Powell aus Richtung Grand Canyon kommend die gesamte Region. Zusammen mit dem Geologen Grove Karl Gilbert kartografierte er den Zion Canyon und gab ihm den Namen Mukuntuweap, da er dachte, dies wäre der Paiuteausdruck für den Canyon.
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Virgin River Outside Of The Park
If you are looking to go tubing in Zion National Park, you are going to have to go tubing outside the park. The Virgin River flows outside the park and once the river is outside the park you are free to go tubing. There are several operations that rent/sell tubes for a float down this river.
Please note that the Virgin River is a rocky river and you will have to pay attention and actively work to avoid rocks and other hazards as you float down the river.
Warning: Toxic Cyanobacteria Bloom In Zion
Since July 2020, there has been a bloom of cyanobacteria in the Virgin River and its three major tributaries North Fork of Virgin River, North Creek, and La Verkin Creek. This toxic cyanobacteria bloom has been producing toxins such as anatoxin-a, nodularin, and cylindrospermopsin. People who are exposed to cyanotoxins via their skin can experience a range of short-term health effects such as skin rashes and respiratory and gastrointestinal distress. Drinking contaminated water can result in kidney or liver damage with the possibility of death.
A recent toxin sample has been colected that was above the Danger Adcisior threshold on North Creek and connected upstream tributaries and recreators should avoid all contact with water.
There is a Health Watch advisory for the North Fork of the Virgin River and La Verkin Creek.
During a Health Watch:
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What Are Emerald Pools
Emerald Pools are 3 separate pools that formed along a stream as it descends down part of Zion National Parks canyon walls. These are the Lower Emerald Pool, Middle Emerald Pool, and Upper Emerald Pool. While the Lower and Middle Pools are located along the loop trail, youll have to hike a short spur to get to the Upper Pool. These pools are neither deep nor emerald.
Virgn River Swimming Hole
Probably the best and biggest spot for swimming in Zion is the Virgin River Swimming Hole. This Zion Swimming spot was created when a small dam collapsed leaving behind a large pool that is great for swimming. The remains of the dam slow the water down and allow for swimming. Above the dam, the water is shallow and is a perfect place for younger kids to splash around. Below the dam remains, is a pool of water that is usually 3 to 4 ft deep.
This spot is located near the Canyon Junction Shuttle Stop. From shuttle stop follow the signs. It is a short walk.
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Virgin River Inside Zion
The Virgin River is usually a shallow rocky river, but there are several other spots where the water gets deep enough to swim beside the dam site mentioned above. As you take the Zion Shuttles or walk along the Parus Trail and look for areas where others are swimming or for areas with calmer water that looks deep. Please do not jump into the river. Most swimming holes in the Virgin River are between 3 and 5 feet deep with a rocky bottom.
Tubing isnt allowed inside the park.
Left Turn To A Short But Steep Climb
As mentioned multiple times, you can take a right turn here if you are in rush. However, we recommend turning left so you can experience the full Zion Emerald Pools Trail.
A sign at the far side of the bridge youll see the sign stating Upper Pool and Lower Pool to the right, with Middle Pool to the left. Follow the sign for Middle Pool which is 1 mile to the left.
But remember we said it was confusing? Just 2-3 minutes later you will reach a steep incline with another sign stating Middle Pool is only 0.5 miles away .
Now unless you have teleported, you cant possibly have walked half a mile in 3 minutes. Assuming an average walking pace of 3 miles per hour, it would take 10 minutes to walk half a mile.
The trail markers leave a lot to be desired on Emerald Pools Trail.
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Descend An Unexpected Narrow Staircase
The next part of the Emerald Pools Trail is completely unexpected.
Shortly after you take the turn and skirt around a minor drop off of a narrow dirt trail surrounded by vegetation, you will encounter a set of stone steps.
Take the steps down and youll reach another fork:
- Left would take you up more steps leading onto Kayenta Trail and eventually Angels Landing.
- Right leads you down an extremely photogenic staircase between two rocks, almost like a very short slot canyon toward Lower Emerald Pool.
Emerald Pools Trail Zion National Park: Hike Lower Middle + Upper Pool
Posted on Last updated: September 23, 2022
Emerald Pools Trail is one of our favorite hikes in Zion National Park and despite being heavily trafficked, we think it is hugely underrated. Were going to show you exactly how to hike to Lower, Middle and Upper Pool on the unique Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park.
Zions Emerald Pools Trail is centered around three shallow pools called Lower, Middle and Upper Pool. Each pool is located at different points along a loop and spur trail about half way up Zion canyon.
Lower and Middle Pools are right on the loop, but you have to climb a short but steep out-and-back spur trail to reach Upper Pool.
We will show you the full hike with photos and explain how to navigate the confusing direction signs.
Lets go find some Emerald Pools!
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Optional: Extended Route To The Middle Pools
Rather than doubling back, its possible to continue on to the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools in Zion. Unfortunately, the Upper Pools trail was closed due to rockfall when I visited, so I instead chose to form a loop back to the parking area via the Middle Pools.
This extended route is very scenic but involves a little more incline to the ledge beside the Middle Pools. In total, the Lower and Middle Emerald Pool loop is only 2 miles, with only about 150ft of elevation. We completed this entire loop hike in winter in roughly 1.5 hours with plenty of photo stops.
The trail begins by walking underneath the alcove waterfalls and then climbing a short but steep section to a trail that now parallels the Lower Emerald Pools trail. This finishes by looping back around at higher elevation with spectacular views over the Historic Zion Lodge, and Red Arch Mountain before a sharp descent back to the parking area.
Map & Hike Details: My Strava
Description De La Randonne D’emerald Pools
Pour faire cette randonnée, plusieurs possibilités s’offrent à vous.La première, consiste à prendre la navette et descendre à l’arrêt N°5, “Zion Lodge” et à suivre le sentier.
Vous ferez donc dans l’ordre Lower, Middle et Upper Emerald Pools. Ensuite soit vous revenez sur vos pas, soit vous continuez sur le Kayenta Trail en direction de The Grotto et, une fois arrivés, vous pourrez prendre la navette ici à l’arrêt N°6.
Pour ma part, ayant fait d’abord Angel’s Landing, j’ai remonté le Kayenta trail puis j’ai enchainé avec Middle, Upper et Lower Emerald Pools et je suis redescendu ensuite par le sentier qui mène au Zion Lodge.
Les 2 solutions sont parfaitement envisageables et ne présentent pas de difficultés particulières…Vous pourrez ainsi découvrir ces 3 piscines naturelles. Pour ma part les cascades étaient anecdotiques à cette période , mais en période de pluie, ça doit être assez impressionnant !!
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